Friday, July 29, 2016

A busy summer

...makes for very little stitching.
The quilting on my scrappy baskets (made from the leftover scraps from one of my Mom's quilts) is almost finished. Notice the tiny baskets in the corners. I still need to ditch stitch around the red in those blocks.
 I used a wash away marker to mark the orange peel design in the last border and I haven't washed it away yet.

This top was made back in 2011 or 2012--I'm too tired to look it up. But I recall that in 2012, not long after I began my FMQ career, I took a class from Karen McTavish on "What to Quilt Where". We were each to bring a quilt top that had us stumped, and she would talk about what she would recommend be quilted on it. This was the top I took, but to be honest, at that point in my quilting life EVERY top had me stumped. 

When the top was spread out on the table she pointed to the setting triangles and indicated that they would be great places for feathers. I remember that the voice in my head said something like, "Not in my lifetime."
 This shot gives you a better idea of the quilting designs used. It is still hard to tell it is an egg & dart design in the red border.

 I brought out my hexie project recently (Stars in the Garden). Don't faint, Sarah! I needed some handwork for our extended family camp out. I have made a little more progress on the star to the right. This might even get finished in my lifetime, if someone else stitches it.

Last Sunday was my sweet Dad's 93rd birthday. 
My older sister and I joined him for this photo. She is the one without the grey hair. : )
The quilt behind us is a Kim Diehl design made by my Mom years ago--hand quilted and needle-turned applique. 

Was supposed to be on a road trip in Oregon right now, but yesterday the transmission died in our van just two hours into our trip. Sat at the side of the freeway for almost 4 hours in 100 degree temps before we went home in a tow truck. Hope you had a better day than that.
Janet O.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Let's talk feathers.

Not too long ago that word inspired fear and trembling in me. Now I love to apply them to quilts whenever I can.
This little "Crazy Ann" quilt received it's feather border and is now bound and ready to send off to my friend.
Small quilt finish #40 for this year.
Even though this is not my preference in colors, I like it much better than I thought I would.

Then there is the basket wall hanging made from scraps of one of my Mom's quilts.
I hadn't quite finished the ditch stitching, but it was crying for feathers. The feathered wreaths in the black squares are a little hard to see. I used a stencil and pounce pad to mark those.

 On the setting triangle feathers I just mark a spine using a curved ruler, and wing it from there (pun intended).

Feathers were my nemesis when I started free motion quilting and now I enjoy them and look for places to use them. My first venture into free motion quilting was a class I took in October 2011. I didn't try feathers for a few weeks and the attempts were so discouraging that I threw them away. Wish I had kept them so we could have a good laugh. But if you are struggling with feathers, maybe this will give you hope.

This was one of my early feather attempts. I just couldn't figure out how to get the feathers to emerge gracefully from the spine.

Four months after I began my struggle to machine quilt I was involved in the SewCalGal (now QuiltShopGal) free motion quilt challenge of 2012, and February's challenge was feathers.
This is what I finally created in February of 2012. Not exactly a graceful, flowy piece. : )
 So if you are feather challenged as I was, know that it really does boil down to practice. I found the December border challenge from Patsy Thompson In SewCalGal's 2012 FMQ challenge really helped me get the feel for the flow of feathers. 

Even though the challenge was about border designs, Patsy uses a lot of feathers in her borders and this inspired me. I followed some of her feathered border designs and practiced until it clicked. 
 Not perfect, but a definite improvement! And it just kept getting easier from there on out.

There are only two or three feather designs with which I am comfortable. I want to branch out and try some new ones. 
What is your favorite style of feather? And do you quilt it yourself, or does someone else do your quilting for you?

Until next time,
Janet O.

Friday, July 8, 2016

No, You Are Not Lost!

This really is my blog--I know these aren't my usual colors, but this will be a gift (a very long overdue housewarming gift) for a friend that moved to the south end of our state a couple of years ago. Their home is decorated in the colors of the area--red rock (well, they call it red rock, but we would call it rust or orange) and blue sky.
The block I used is "Crazy Ann" because my friend's name is Ann. But I changed the color placement so that the resulting blocks didn't look so much like a swastika. This will finish at about 16" square. I wanted that plain outer border to quilt some feathers. : ) It will be bound in the darker blue hanging to the left side.

Okay, now we are back in familiar color territory. My last two r/w/b finishes are shown below.

This is little finish number 38, made with some leftover HSTs.

And this is number 39 that was made with the fusible grid.
Since the first little quilt I made with the grid wasn't as stiff as I thought it would be once it was finished, I decided to just finish this one without trying any of the trimming methods I had been considering. That was a mistake. It is quite stiff. I need to soak it and see if that will soften it up. My next effort with the 1/2" finished fusible grid will definitely involve trimming of seam allowances!

And here they are in their home for the month of July.
I like that the last quilt is bigger. I think the quilts in the middle are too similar in size, so they don't show up much from behind each other. Lesson learned. I want more graduated sizes for this display.

Look what I found in an antique mall today. No, it did not come home with me--not in my budget. But wouldn't this make a sweet display for doll quilts (the doll buggy, not the book)? Love it!!

Grace will be the recipient of the Mama Said Sew plate. Of all of those who wanted it, I only had email contact for three of you. Most of you have "no reply" settings, so I cannot contact you and could not include you. (If you did not receive a reply from me to your comment, you are one of those with the "no reply" setting.) I'll get it sent off to you, Grace!

Until next time,
Janet O.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Happy Independence Day!

And happy Monday to all of my friends outside the U.S. of A.!

After donating the first little "Patriotic Star" I made from Diane Hansen's pattern, to our family reunion auction, I decided I wanted one--this time I made it from plaid shirts. I knew that would invite a lot of wonkiness, because it would be impossible to keep all of those plaids lined up perfectly on such a little quilt. I decided I could live with that.

I am pretty pleased with the end results. Maybe I will call it "Patriotism in Plaids". This had not been one of the little quilts in the running for #36 for 2016, but it is the winner.


Here we have little finish #37.
As I mentioned in my last post, this is my adaptation of a recent Temecula free pattern offering called Freedom Flag.

This is how they are currently displayed in my sewing room.
Back in 2014 I was gifted a little hand stitching project by my good friend Annie M. It was to keep my hands busy during  some air travel I was going to be doing. This is from the "Building Houses From Scraps" movement. I got the first six blocks finished and made the little quilt on the right I call "Annie's Neighborhood". I have used the other six blocks as my go-to handwork for car trips, but finally decided it was time to "getter done". There were only 1 1/2 houses left to go. (Don't look too closely--I am not the most precise hand stitcher.) I thought I knew just what I would do with these, but now I am debating breaking them up into 2 or 3 projects. I will play with them and see what happens. 

On a recent thrift store trip I scored on vintage men's pants hangers. I love these for hanging little quilts and I only had one. I had actually found myself tempted to abscond with one or two when I saw my Dad's pants were all hung from this type hanger--but I stepped back and took deep breaths and then walked away.
At half a dollar each. I was happy to walk away from the thrift store with the whole bundle.

Two of them now grace the stairwell that leads to our bedroom. To the left is the top view and to the right is what you see as you descend the stairs.

Last of all, are you doing any of the Row By Row shop hop? I just visit my local quilt shops, and these are their license plates this year. The "Fabric Cache" plate plays off of the fact that we live in  "Cache Valley", so named because it used to be a hunting and trapping ground for Native Americans and mountain men. They would bury their furs in caches to come back and collect later.
I have an extra "Mama Said Sew" plate, so if you are interested, say so in your comment. I will draw a name and ship it out. "No-reply" commenters need to include their email in their comment to be included. : )

Until next time,
Janet O.